Monthly Archives: September 2014

Where Do We Go From Here?

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.

2 Corinthians 5:1-3 NLT

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth answered many question for that young body of believers and for us. Despite what current opinion may say this life is NOT all there is. Nor, do we, as spirit beings continually get recycled until we get it right.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment  Hebrews 9:27 KJV

 That being said we come back to the question….Where do we go from here if death is not the end?

 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  2 Cor 5:8 KJV

Here, Paul tells us clearly that we step out of this skin and into eternity with the Lord (keeping in mind that he is speaking to fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ).  He goes on to tell us that along with this step into eternity and a new incorruptible body we get to answer for our actions while on this earth as believers (not for our actions or sins before we became believers because they are washed away by the blood of Christ).

 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 2 Cor 5:10 KJV

Always keeping in mind that our past sins are forgotten. Thrown into a sea of forgetfulness and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb so that these “good or bad” things refereed to here are weighed in the light of what good we did for the Kingdom of Christ or what bad (by inaction) we did. Not whether we sinned or not as believers.

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 KJV

Choose Life

Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step. 1 Corinthians 9:22-26 NLT

 Sharing the good news with all the world is our only mission. it is all that we will be judged on and all that we will be rewarded for. Not our job, or position, or accumulated wealth, or our abject poverty, or our number of likes or friends or tweets.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Heb 12:1 NLT

JESUS SAID “GO…..”

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are?!?!

   There’s a saying out there which goes something like this –

What matters most is how you see yourself”

   We as believers understand that what truly matters most is how Jesus sees us but before we completely dismiss this seemingly introverted concept lets look at it in the light of scripture.

    For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he Pr 23:7 KJV

   So, the Word of God is telling us that our self image affects or actions but, thankfully, that is not the last word on the subject.

for man looketh on the outward appearance,

but the Lord looketh on the heart. 1Sam 16:7c KJV

In the Book of Judges we see Gideon threshing wheat in hiding from the occupiers the Lord sent to correct His people and we have an open window into the way Gideon sees himself when he responds to the angels greeting…lets listen in….

    And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.  And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.  And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?  And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house

Judges 6:12-15 KJV

  So, here we see Gideon in hiding out of fear and explaining that he is the least (perhaps smallest or youngest) in his family and that his family is poor in the tribe of Manasseh, which isn’t the largest or greatest of the tribes of Israel. Gideon sees himself as the lowest of the low BUT the angels’ greeting reflects the way God sees him – A MIGHT MAN OF VALOR! Those of you who don’t already know the rest of the story should take a minute to see how it turns out but for the purpose of our discussion I will leave it there.

God doesn’t want us to “think of ourselves more highly then we should” nor does he want us to live in fear, self doubt, or shame”.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are children of the Most High God. We are inheritors of Glory. We shall rule as Kings and Priests in the Kingdom of God to come. We are Blessed and Highly favored. But, we are to walk in humility with lowliness of heart and put others before us as we follow the example Jesus gave us of a servant not a master.

image

Distorted Selfie

As important as it may be for us to have a healthy self image it is how God sees us that matters most.

Be Blessed, Al & Betty

What Do you Say When ………?

Have you ever been in the position of being face to face with someone who is going, or just has gone, threw a terrible ordeal? Maybe it was the death of a family member, or a miscarriage or some other great and unexplainable event?

When faced with such a circumstance I am afraid some of us, myself included, want to console or encourage the hurt heart that is before us. Too often we can fall back on cliche sentiments that fall short. Or, worse, we throw out a bewildering – “It must be Gods’ will” or “time heals all wounds.” But what do you say when in such a situation?

First, lets look at why we feel we have to say anything. Are we so ego-driven that we think we can actually solve this persons problem in the few short moments we are with them?  Is it that we have a Hero complex and feel we have to swoop in and save the day? Maybe it’s as simple as wanting to do for them as we would hope to have someone do for us if we were hurting. Whatever the reason might be, I thinks it important to examine ones motives before beginning to speak.

Secondly, Who is the persons that is hurting? How well do you know them? How well do they know you? I heard it said that “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Consider your relationship and if you have the credentials to advise, console or encourage.

Lastly, What do you say? What can be said? Unless you are certain you can solve the problem or give the most perfect (previously unspoken) answer it might be best to say nothing other then “I will pray for you.” And then start praying. Either silently in the Spirit or out loud in their presence. Because the only thing that I am certain of – in a situation such as these the only One Who can help is The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

After all, we are all called to lead them to Jesus

That’s all we can effectively do for anyone we meet

  Bus Stop b&w 8x10when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.

Micah 7:8b KJV

What in the World is going on?

Political unrest and wars in multiple parts of the world. Sickness and diseases like the Ebola outbreak and the MERS virus are killing people in large numbers and causing concerns worldwide. Earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes and huge swings in weather patterns producing violent rains, stifling heat with droughts as well record breaking blankets of snow with freezing temps.

In just the past few years the globe has seen all of these and more. Some site Global warming for climate change and the weather related problems.

With respect to the political upheavals some say its time for a change of the old regimes to the new. The Arab Spring saw protests and changes in nearly 20 countries across the north of Africa and the middle east. In Iraq a civil war rages long after America pulled its troops out. Russia is in the Ukraine and fierce fighting going on in Israel and Palestine. Isis is growing and fears are raised in the west.

All of this can cause one to wonder – “What in the World is going on?” But who can know what is going on? Is there anywhere to turn to find answers?

Obviously, the answer is Yes. There is somewhere you can go to get answers to the question of what in the world is going on –

Gods’ Word

– The Bible tells us about all these things and those things which are still to come.

It is God who controls the countries of the earth. He causes one to rise and another to fall. History shows us how Alexander the Great rose to power and how he built institutions of learning all around the known world. He caused everyone to learn the Greek language and when the time was right his empire fell. Later the Roman empire rose to control the known world and built highways and connected the various pieces of the empire with better trade routes. Soon after that we see our Lord ( and His followers) using these roads and the common language to Preach the Gospel. So we see that God orchestrated the rise and fall of these nations to His glory by setting the stage for the Ministry of Jesus Christ as well as the spreading of the Gospel by His followers.

Likewise, Jesus told us  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8KJV

So, these things are not a series of unrelated hysterical happens but simply a part of the plan. Yet with all that is and will be coming let us be encouraged –

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,  whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.

Heb 12:25-29 KJV

 

He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. Job 12:23 KJV

 

Tribulatios Escape

Finally, let all of us be encouraging and loving towards each other and reach out to those who have not yet found the love and grace of Jesus especially as we see these things come to pass.

Be blessed today by His Love for you!

 

If You Love Something…..

If you love something set it free
and if it comes back to you its yours
and if it doesn’t it was never was.

For decades this poem, or some version of it, has been set to music, printed on posters and repeated as sage advise to the love lorn youth.

But the truth is the concept behind this montra is much older. Its as old as time itself and continues to this very moment. That’s because the concept of setting something, or someone really, free to go and live their life and hope that they come back to you frist started with God.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.  Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

That’s a statement to consider.

Taken at face value it says that we all came from God before we came from mommy! The question is will we go back? Just like the poem says – if you love something set it free. God has done just that. He loves us and He set us free. Free to make our own choice as to whether or not we will return to Him or go our own way. Free to believe in Him and His love for us. Free to trust in Him or to venture off on our own.

In this culture of being “green” why not consider the ultimate act of recycling and ….

RECYCLE YOURSELF BY TURNING TO HIM WHO REDEEMED YOU ON CALVARY’S CROSS

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Summers End

Empty Boardwalk Long Beach, NYHello friends.

Its been a busy fast moving Summer and I really wish the days didn’t go by so quickly. I hope that everyone had a wonderful vacation season and that you are all settling back into the routine of back to school or back to work.

In the near future I hope to inspire and challenge us all to discuss our faith and trust in the Lord.

Until then let me simply say that no matter where you are or what you are going threw –

JESUS IS THE ANSWER